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The startup ecosystem is a rapidly and constantly evolving and changing environment. With this high pace, it is not easy to always keep up with it and understand where the different actors are coming from. Opportunities come and go on a daily basis and might decide about the fate of your own idea or business. The only way to really be proactive is to continuously analyze the local and the international startup ecosystems and thus increasing the own odds for success. As this would practically already take a whole team of people working on it fulltime by itself, entrepreneurs are in a particularly difficult position. And yet it is exactly those entrepreneurs who the whole startup ecosystem eventually depends on. So let’s take a look at the startup ecosystem step by step.
What does startup ecosystem mean?
A startup ecosystem’s ultimate goal is to nurture the creation of new startup companies and is made up of particularly three types of actors: the entrepreneurs, their startups, and all organizations providing some value for the system. The latter are in particular universities, funding organizations, support organizations, research organizations, service provider organizations, and large corporations. (see Startup Commons for more information).
It is not difficult to guess that all these actors ultimately also follow their own objectives and reasons for being part of this system, among others often of the monetary kind while doing that through entrepreneurship or supporting these entrepreneurs and their startups. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the following question: “what makes a good startup ecosystem?”
What makes a good startup ecosystem?
If you ask yourself what good startup ecosystems there are today, the first that comes to your mind is probably Silicon Valley. According to the Startup Ecosystem Report in 2012, this is in fact true—what a surprise. Number 2 and 3 on the list are, respectively, Tel Aviv (Israel) and Los Angeles. But why are these ecosystems so successful? And what distinguishes them from others that are less successful?
Marc Nager introduced five critical ingredients that are crucial in creating a well-functioning startup ecosystem in ‘Fostering a Startup and Innovation Ecosystem’ (blog.up.co): talent, density, culture, capital, and regulatory environment. So the easiest explanation why these before mentioned startup ecosystems are more successful than others is that a more favorable mix of these ingredients could evolve there and that each ingredient is likely to be further developed than elsewhere, too.
Motoyama and Watkins (2014) mention another key element for a strong startup ecosystem to develop in their case study ‘Examining the Connections within the Startup Ecosystem:’ the connections themselves. They identified four key connections: (1) connections between entrepreneurs, (2) connections between support organizations, (3) connections between entrepreneurs and key support organizations, and (4) miscellaneous support connections. They argue that “connecting entrepreneurs with the types of support they need, when they need it” would be a particular key in a startup ecosystem’s evolution.
Overall, it is the evolution of various favorable factors coming together that will eventually, and over time, create a good startup ecosystem. While large corporations and other investors might be able to speed up this whole process of developing such an ecosystem and creating a good environment for entrepreneurs to flourish, the reputation of it and the trust that people have in it are two factors that money will not be able to buy. These rely solely on time and the continuous success of startups from such startup ecosystems, giving particularly Silicon Valley a long-term strategic advantage.
How does StartupBlink fit into the startup ecosystem?
There are already many big and small online startup platforms that support the startup ecosystem out there. One unique feature of these is usually that they do not only serve one ecosystem but provide value across individual startup ecosystems. This is of course not to mention all the actors that are already actively involved in one or more of these, such as investors, accelerators, and influencers.
StartupBlink has launched a new startup platform and focuses on providing information and connecting the different actors within and across these ecosystems. These are startups themselves as well as influencers, freelancers, accelerators, and so-called ambassadors. If you have visited its website, you will remember the prominent map pinning ten thousand actors from the startup ecosystem worldwide right on their front page. This has quickly become its most recognizable and used feature.
Let’s have a look at what the map on StartupBlink actually does. First of all, and without even touching it, you get a good overview of where the main startup ecosystems are in the world by solely looking at the numbers of each region. You can now either zoom in to a particular area of interest to see its setup and individual pins or narrow down on what the map shows you. This way you could see, for example, all accelerators listed and get a quick overview of how many and which there are in your area. Alternatively, it allows you to search for particular entries such as startups and influencers. In this way, this map makes it easy and quick to understand who the actors are in your startup ecosystem and get a better overview of its evolution, thus saving the entrepreneur a lot of time doing research on exactly this.
Startup ecosystems take time and money to develop into well-functioning, well-connected, and recognized ones that attract a high number of entrepreneurs and constantly bring forth successful startups. While this ecosystem is rapidly and constantly evolving and changing, there are ways to keep an overview of what’s happening. StartupBlink is one platform that helps entrepreneurs and other actors in this environment to stay on top of it and be able to spend more time on what this is actually all about: building successful startups.
The Author: Konstantin von Brocke has recently taken master level courses in entrepreneurship at Jönköping International Business School in Sweden after gaining work experiences in sales and marketing. He graduated in business management from University of Wisconsin-Stout with magna cum laude in December 2012 and holds an Associate in Applied Science degree in marketing from Fox Valley Technical College. He is interested in all things related to business with a particular focus on entrepreneurship, marketing, and business development. Connect via Twitter or Google+!